Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2004
Publication Date: 1/4/2005
Citation: Radhakrishnaiah, P., Sawhney, A.P. 2005. Nanotechnology opens new routes for the functional finishing of cotton-rich textiles. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. CD-ROM. p. 2626-2638. Interpretive Summary: Rapidly emerging nanotechnology offers new and improved ways of imparting a range of functional performance properties to cotton-rich fabrics. The textile industry is the first manufacturing industry to come up with finished products that are enhanced through nanotechnology-based functional finishing. The nanotechnology can be used to impart stain resistance, flame retardancy, wrinkle resistance, moisture management, and many other enhancements including antimicrobial, UV protection, and soil release properties of textiles. Companies that have demonstrated successful exploration of the technology are briefed in the paper.
Technical Abstract: Although cotton fiber has excellent moisture absorption, transportation and dissipation characteristics, which essentially contribute to the so-called “comfort properties” of cotton fabrics, it also has certain deficiencies. For example, untreated cotton fabrics easily shrink (on laundering), burn, wrinkle, stain, develop mildew and bacterial growth, and “soak-in- rain.” Also, although a cotton fabric, being an excellent substrate, usually can be easily treated and modified with chemical finishing formulations to impart desired functional properties, such as flame resistance or retardancy, wrinkle resistance, dimensional stability, anti-microbial finishes, and so on, the treated (or, coated) fabric generally loses its strength, durability, and other important attributes. In addition, the traditional chemical treatments are costly and environmentally sensitive. This paper discusses the application of nanotechnology to improve functional performance of cotton–rich fabrics and attain the desired fabric attributes stated above. Basically, “nano whiskers,” 1/1000 the size of a typical cotton fiber are attached to the individual, constituent fibers of the fabric.